I have been fat my whole life. Perhaps there were a few brief periods in middle school and high school where I could have passed for “slightly overweight,” but those moments were fleeting, and went quietly by, under-appreciated by yours truly. As a young child, I was unaware of my weight problem. Those years were the best. I can still kind of remember what it was like not obsessing about my weight or constantly comparing my body with the bodies of my peers. Those blissfully ignorant years came to a screeching hault one day when I was prancing around my house in my bathing suit, preparing for a day of swimming in the neighbor’s pool.
“I see you’re bringing your inner-tube with you to the pool,” my father said.
“Huh?” I tilted my head, baffled.
“Your inner-tube,” my father made some sort of sign language to indicate the lower abdomen.
“Oh.” I looked down at myself and for the first time I saw the baby fat my dad was referring to.
And that wasn’t the last time Dad felt the need to make me painfully aware of my extra padding. By the time I was in the second grade, I was horribly self-conscious of my weight. I didn’t want to wear shorts because I thought my thighs were too monstrous. One day in my second grade class, every student had to be weighed by the teacher. I’m honestly not sure why…probably for some sort of public school statistic thing. My teacher was extraordinarily nice and didn’t make me feel ashamed at all when I weighed in at a hefty 90lbs. I cried all the way home from school that day.
After that day, my father would sometimes tease me when we were in the car going to school.
“You know, everyone has to get weighed at school today.” My dad would say as he peaked at me sitting in the passenger seat while he was driving.
“No! Daddy, I don’t want to go to school today!” I would instantly burst into tears and demand he turn the car around. Only when I was almost utterly hysterical would he admit that he was only “joking.”
My father never let up on me about my weight. And somehow my mother never managed to tell him to shut the fuck up and stop teasing their young impressionable daughter. Don’t get me wrong…I love both my parents dearly, but they totally dropped the ball on that whole “help your daughter develop good self-esteem” thing. During my hormonally-raging, angsty teenage days, my father would frequently tell me that I had an “inferiority complex” when I was being vocally down on myself. Gee, I wonder why. During this time I was prescribed anti-depressants. They made me feel like the walking dead, and I decided that my depression felt better than numbness and stopped taking the pills a few months later.
I met the man that I would later marry when I was 15 years old and he was 19. We dated (very chastely!) throughout my high school years, and as soon as I graduated high school, I moved to the city where he lived. After a year of living together, things started to fall apart. Honestly, I think we were just too young and dumb and unprepared for the kind of struggles we would face. I was depressed and self-medicated with food. My weight was out of control. When I graduated high school, I weighed about 220 lbs. Pretty chubby, but I was active and healthy. By the end of that first year, I weighed 270 lbs. Sexy Boyfriend and I went “on a break,” and I moved back in with my parents.
I hadn’t really noticed my 50-pound weight gain until my parents bought me clothes for my birthday. Every frumpy blouse, every gawd-awful dress, every single item of clothing they bought for me was about two sizes too big! This made me realize that my parents, who had barely seen me over the past year, had noticed that I gained a lot of weight and assumed that I had gained a lot of clothing sizes too. Which wasn’t true. When I graduated high school, I wore around a size 14/16 to around an 18/20. After gaining 50lbs I wore an 18/20 and occassionally a 22/24. The clothes I received from my parents all had 4XL tags on them.
I can just see my parents in the clothing store trying to decide what size to get for their puffed-up daughter.
“Well, she was an XL when she graduated last year. And she must have put on at least a hundred pounds…” I can hear my mother musing out loud.
I see my father picking up the biggest, most circus tent-like garment he can find, pulling it taut at the waist, and nodding his head, “Yeah, she’s about this big now.”
As sad as it is, I think my mother was secretly happy about my weight gain, because it meant that my father wouldn’t be making as many remarks about her weight anymore. (Oh, yeah, have I mentioned that both my parents are really overweight?)
After the clothes incident, I decided to lose some poundage. I cut out soda from my diet, and I started jogging. Yeah, that’s right, my fat ass got out there and started jogging. I lost about 40 lbs. I was going to college, working, dating and doing a little growing up. But…there was something missing.
A couple of years later, Sexy Boyfriend and I started talking again. We hashed out all of our old problems: I was too needy. He was too emotionally distant. We made fresh promises to each other and decided to try again. And it’s worked. It probably didn’t hurt that by this time he was counseling psychologically screwed up adolescents. And let’s face it folks, that’s what I was (am?).
Sexy Boyfriend became Sexy Husband in 2006 and we have been loving every minute of marriage. I have gained 30 lbs since I got married and 70 lbs since SH and I got back together. I’m (obviously) not one of those people that loses weight when she’s sad or loses weight when she’s happy. When I’m sad, I eat. When I’m happy, I eat. When I’m any kind of emotion, I acknowledge it with food.
Re-reading this post, it seems like my parents are terrible. They aren’t. I think just about everybody’s folks messed up in some way…like a son who’s pushed too hard to succeed at sports or a daughter who gets punished if she doesn’t bring home straight A+’s. I had it out with both my parents (individually) not that long ago, but that’s a story for another day.
So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope everyone had a great weekend and good luck with this week’s challenges!